Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel (R) insisted on Monday that he would not tone down his style after nearly getting in a fight with fellow Republican candidate Mike Gibbons.
During an interview on Real America's Voice, host Steve Bannon asked Mandel about his Friday night confrontation with Gibbons at a debate.
"What was it that hit the tripwire that you had to stand up to a 70-year-old guy and basically throw down right there if it hadn't been for the moderator, maybe J.D. Vance, maybe you two guys would have gone at it," Bannon explained. "Gibbons is an old Irishman and so there would have been a couple blows thrown."
"You're known as a fighter," he noted. "Why make a big display of it?"
Mandel insisted that he was "standing up for military men and women" because Gibbons allegedly insulted veterans.
"Would you commit to toning this down?" Bannon asked. "Keep the content as hot as you can. Say, you made this money but to tone down the personal animosity so that people can actually hear these debates and hear what people have to say. If you disagree with the guy, chop him up then. Would you commit to not having these things throw down to some type of physical confrontation?"
For his part, Mandel argued that he had "no animosity" toward Gibbons but Bannon didn't buy the claim.
"When you say there's no personal animosity, if you had not been separated, don't you believe that you two guys would have come to blows?" the conservative host complained. "Being an Irishman and being in enough bars in my life, it looked like it was about to be -- it was a throwdown. It looked like it was about to come to blows. If you hadn't been broken up, would you guys have not gotten into a physical confrontation? Because you weren't backing down and he wasn't backing down."
"I don't know where it's going," Mandel admitted. "I have no idea where it would have gone."
The candidate suggested that there will be more fireworks at Monday night's debate with Gibbons.
"I'm not dialing anything down for tonight," Mandel remarked. "If anything, we're going to dial it up."